Open a home and garden magazine, and you’ll find page after page of lovely photographs of professionally maintained flower beds, paths, groves, and more. It would be wonderful to have a garden so neat and healthy in your own yard, but the cost of a professional landscaper is often prohibitive.
If you still want to make your garden look like it was installed and maintained by professional landscapers, however, you don’t have to scrimp and save to hire an outside company. You can make your own flower beds look professionally maintained by following these five steps.
1. Keep Them Clean
Annual flowers will die at the end of the season; perennial flowers will wilt and die while the plant itself may die back for the winter. Some plants are “self-cleaning,” meaning old flowers and leaves drop off, but others need help. As the blooming season continues, check the plants daily for withered parts and pinch those off. Clean out any leaf and petal litter from the bed, too. When annual plants die, replace them with new plants; when perennial plants start to die back, prune as appropriate (this will differ for each plant).
2. Taller Plants in Back, Shorter Plants in Front
This tip makes sense: Place tall flowers in back and short flowers in front. However, many people forget to note the average and maximum heights of flowers when they plant them, which can lead to a visual mess. Also important is the height of the majority of the plant. For example, rock purslane has a relatively short, clumping base of leaves, with a gorgeous purple flower growing on a long stalk out of the center. This plant, as tall as the flower stalk might get, is often used as a border so that people can see the entire plant.
3. Don’t Crowd the Scene
You want your flower bed to be reasonably full of flowers, with just enough space in between plants to allow them to grow properly. However, you don’t want to visually crowd the bed by planting too many types or colors of flowers. A variety is good, but plant bigger numbers of some flowers than others. A field of similar flowers is less visually noisy. Have some main perennial species with annuals providing pops of color in select areas, for example.
4. Try to Have All-Season Colors
When you plant perennials, look for different plants that bloom at different times of the year. Have a row of perennials that bloom in spring right behind a row that blooms in summer, and then a row that blooms in fall, for example. (If you’re lucky and live in an area where you can get things to grow in winter, look for flowers for those months, too.)
5. Keep the Surrounding Lawn Neatly Mowed With Well-Trimmed Edges
What many don’t realize is that a professional-looking flower bed often gets that neat, professional look from the surrounding lawn, too. A scraggly lawn or one whose edges are growing over the border and into the flower bed will make any nice flower bed look mediocre. Keep lawns mowed and edges trimmed.
If you’re not to thrilled about mowing the lawn yourself, you can hire a lawn care company to take care of the mowing, weeding, trimming, fertilizing, and repairing.